God’s Stuffed Animals

“Hold fast” used to be a cultural family motto to which I belonged. I used to hate it, and have long struggled with the motto because it was saturated in pride and self-strength. It was an ugly thing. However, today God is working in me restoration and healing. Yesterday, I had an unpleasant encounter with a person who threatened to tell an authoritative figure their side of the encounter which the individual believed would be wholeheartedly received and believed by the authority figure which would result in something unjustly taken away from me. Already this week I’ve faced the increased concern of flooding where I live in Northern California. I put the few things I have from my past, my film notes from school, my childhood drawings, as high up as I was able since I live by a place near where water has filled up on the other side. The questions rattle round my brain. Is it safe to leave my rabbit home alone? Should I take him with me, being on the ground floor? If it flooded would there be damage? How much water would come through? (When it would be great to have a mathematician mind to calculate the gallons of water, distance, rate flow etc., but I’m an artist.) Only one other time has an individual done this to me unjustly in my twenties, and the figure in authority didn’t even listen or acknowledge I had a side to the story in a church setting, so having the encounter I did the other day, heaped on with about 20 years I’ve stepped away from, was like an emotional river I tried to keep my head above water. I took a long walk and that helped distance myself emotionally from breaking down sobbing, to sort things, pull certain thoughts, come up with questions and focus on the Truth. However, it didn’t help my recurring feeling of wanting to wretch/vomit, which I only used to deal with when I went through a series of rejections 12 years prior for several years, off and on. Nor did it help my nerves. It was only til today that I could actually cry and let the tears out, even though I wasn’t sure what particular pain from the past I needed to feel release from. I called a friend, prior to my tearful short release alone, and at the end she suggested I give my bunny a cuddle. Reminding her that my bunny doesn’t do cuddles (having been kicked and hurt by others) she suggested a stuffed animal. That got me to thinking of a time long, long ago watching my mother sew from a pattern a dinosaur stuffed critter for my cousins with cute, beady, black eyes and movable legs. I myself as a kid had a plethora of stuffed animal friends. Now, as an adult, I have a few that are gifts or souvenirs from traveling. But it got me to thinking about the power of holding something. How much that must touch the lives of those who HAVE lost everything, whether in a flood or earthquake or windstorm. We often treat those situations (or can) with the colloquial “Well, you didn’t lose ‘everything’, you still have your life and family…you’re still alive.” But we forget then the importance of family heirlooms, the history. Sure, we can tell things and pass things down verbally, but to see a tangible object as a lesson of something put into our hands has power to brand upon soul and mind. Sometimes we need the hug or wrapping of the Holy Spirit, but there are times when we need to hug some THING…when we need something small, yet powerful to hold on to. To “hold fast.” To cuddle and cry. To squeeze. Now, the Holy Spirit is not small nor an object, but peace is holdable, not always holding something or our words in, but a “stuffed animal”, if you will, from our Abba Daddy for those of us who had or have had challenging or unhealthy relationship with a parent or parents. Here is a short list of things I found listed in my Strong’s Concise Concordance under “hold & holding”:

peace, that which is good, the word of life, traditions taught by word or epistle, faith, a good conscience, eternal life, the form of sound words, confidence and rejoicing of the hope, the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end, our profession/confession (of Jesus), the hope set before us.

God only knows which stuffed animals you need to hug today, but He knows. We may grow up into adults, but I believe it is a human need, not in a unhealthy, codependent way, but just a need when you’re really hurting inside, when cuddling in your blankets or bed just isn’t enough. Sometimes we just need a stuffed animal. Not a pet or another person that might grow tired of being held. Even though the attributes listed are not wholly inanimate, their healing properties nourish our soul in order to further the Lord’s work. For those of you who also need to hug something today, I hope this brings you comfort, releases and restores.

List of referential verses:
Prov 17:28
“Even a fool is counted wise when he holds his peace; When he shuts his lips, he is considered perceptive.”
1 Thes 5:21
“Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
Phil 2:16
“holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.”
Phil 2:29
“Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem”
2 Thes 2:15
“Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle.”
1 Tim 1:19
“having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck,”
1 Tim 6:12
“Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”
2 Tim 1:13
“Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
Heb 3:6 the confidence and…
“but Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end.”
Heb 3:14
“For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end,”
Heb 4:14 & 10:23
“Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.”
Heb 6:18
“that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.”


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